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Four teens. Four cats. Four elements.Four warriors: Panthera.Panthera follows the unexpected adventures of Taylor Quinn, new freshman at Bridgedale High School in Massachusetts. Most students have a rough time transitioning to high school - pop quizzes on day one, cafeteria food, gym class, and the like. Well, Taylor gets lured in to (more like abducted by) the special club her brother Jason is in, only to find it's a group of teens given the power to transform into big cats (as in lions and such, not oversize house cats, mind you) with control over the classical elements. Including herself now, apparently.The group is led by BHS's chemistry teacher, Mr. Richard Reynder, whose past work at a chemical company apparently led to a massive (and inhumane) experiment, which has support from the government, (and also to his ability to give the teens their powers,) which he tasks Panthera with trying to stop. So Taylor, Jason, Jason's hot-tempered girlfriend Kira, and the easy-going quick-witted sophomore Fletcher find themselves, in panther form, on the wrong side of the FBI's guns.But what happens if the cats get connected back to the kids?Not to be confused with the band Pantera.
Fighting Your Friend: The aforementioned cat fight just barely qualifies in terms of "friend", as Tigris hated Onca from the start and Onca more or less handed her the perfect reason to try and clobber her.
Note that after Ari's Reveal and subsequent death, the dynamics have shifted slightly.
Four-Temperament Ensemble: In addition to their elemental powers each member of Panthera also has one of the four temperments associated with their powers in the form of healing ability, based on the relationship set in Humorism.
One could also include Aristotle in the ensemble as such (based on personalities): Ari is Phlegmatic, Onca is Supine, Pardus is Sanguine, and Leo and Tigris are mixes of Choleric and Melancholic.
It's then subverted when Leo gives a long explaination of why it would not work - It's nuclear powered, with all the problems with shielding and cooling that implies (and it does blow up at the end of the chapter), and it's just not sustainable. Also, it has guns in the claws. That's also a problem because they could get jammed by the mud and broken by whatever surface it's going on.
Hurricane of Puns: Courtesy of CJ. "Oh, sure, Fletch's a cool cat. I'm pawsitive our purrsonal relationship is a roaring success. Some club can't change his spots, no kitten. Pard-on me, I feel-ine late for our class. Cat-cha later." (That makes $45 for the cat-pun jar, if you were wondering.)
Let's Split Up, Gang: In chapter eight. Leo states that they've got two angles of attack that way and the split is tactically decided - most experience with least (the teams are Tigris-Pardus and Onca-Leo). Tigris notes it's unusual.
The Mole: The current plot seems to be setting up Sarah Pavlopoulos as one of these.
My God, What Have I Done?: Leo develops a case of this after they get out of Korea. Minor case: after promising to rip Fletcher's throat out if he hurts Taylor in any way, shape or form, because Fletcher is a good kid and probably the only person in the world who knows what she's going through besides Jason himself and Kira. A more serious example happens after they get back from Korea - after Ari's Reveal and death, Jason realises that a lot of the things he always assumed were true or the right thing to do don't make sense anymore in light of their drastically-shortened lifespan and has one of these when he realises that he pulled his own sister into this mess.
My Sister Is Off-Limits!: Played with as Jason is clueless about Fletcher taking a liking to Taylor until Kira points it out to him, when he promptly goes into stunned denial of the possibility.
He seems painfully aware of it later, though. When Fletcher takes Taylor to a concert, Jason makes it crystal clear that if anything whatsoever happens, bad things will happen. To be fair, though, those tickets are apparently really expensive, it's not that much of a stretch...
Naïve Newcomer: Onca. To be fair, she had no idea what she was getting into.
Poor Communication Kills: Somewhat, as Onca tries to communicate to Tigris that they've been fighting for the wrong side even though she's horrible at using Growl, though subverted as Tigris does get the gist of it anyway. Thus starts the epic battle.
Though as bad as she is at Growl, Onca somehow nonetheless manages to express new words like "Hobbes" or even "Euphrates"(!) in it.
Word of God says proper names are cognates (or at least as close as you can get with panther-friendly sounds)
Premature Empowerment: In the first issue, Taylor is asked to join the "Adventuring Club"…and then knocked out and injected with gene-altering treatments to turn her into a were-jaguar with elemental powers. And only then is she told what she's really let herself in for.
Leo: Cats don't need licenses, to hunt, fight, kill. But they never have to worry about why they do it, or the greater consequences, either. And we... Tigris, what's my name?
Tigris: I... don't follow.
Leo: My name. What's my name?
Tigris: Uh. "Leo?"
Leo: ...no. "Leo" is the lion mask I wear into battle. And yes, the mask is deeply a part of me. But my mind — my soul — is human. My name is Jason, and it's me who has to live with the things I do.
School Newspaper News Hound: Chloe Lachapelle, as seen here. She goes as far as to try to plant a bug at the team's usual table. She later quits the school newspaper, though, and it's heavily implied it's because she's Oosterhuis' new lackey and exposing the "Outing Club" would expose her own secret.
Sink-or-Swim Mentor: Tigris to Onca, in a way. A bit heavy on the "Sink Or Swim", less so on "Mentor".
Stealth Pun: One very early on that relies on knowledge of the later chapters: one of Taylor's friends jokingly suggests she hug a leper, and while they've yet to actually embrace, she becomes something of a romantic interest to the leopard on the team. It's unknown whether or not this was intentional, but it's there.